Finder weeper? Mom nabbed for Wawa cash grab

Posted: April 25, 2012

Early on the afternoon of April 1, Jim Duffy of Havertown unwittingly dropped a couple of rolls of bills while paying at the register of an Upper Darby Wawa.

A woman snatched the $2,300 in cash from the floor and made a dash for the door, as seen on surveillance video.

This morning, Stephanie Paparo, 28, a mother of three from Clifton Heights, was arraigned on misdemeanor charges of theft and receiving stolen property, according to Upper Darby Police Superintendant Michael Chitwood.

She was arrested Tuesday night at her home, thanks to numerous tips from callers who saw the video on local TV, he said.

Forget the old adage, “Finders keepers, losers weepers,” although Duffy may be out his money.

“She saw it. She knew whose money it was. She didn’t make any effort to return the money to the individual. It’s a theft,” Chitwood said.

None of the cash was recovered, though. Paparo told investigators she was sorry, but had already parted with the loot, giving a lot to a boyfriend to pay overdue rent and spending the rest to pay other bills and buy food and other items for her three young children, Chitwood said.

She said that when she took the money, she didn’t know how much it was, he said.

Duffy said he was carrying the cash to buy a car, Chitwood said.

Investigators would also like to speak with the boyfriend. Paparo was worried about being evicted because he may have failed to pay the rent, suggesting he might still have some of the ill-gotten gains, Chitwood said.

If he knew the money was stolen, he could also face charges.

“Her obligation under the law would be to return the money to the guy,” because she knew who owned it, Chitwood said.

Finding money on the street with no one in sight could be a different story, although the ethical course would be to turn in the money, in case the right owner steps forward to make a claim, he said.

Paparo was released after unsecured bail was set at $10,000.

Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or pmucha@phillynews.com.

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